Delhi has 1.75 million ration cardholders, which translates to 7.16 million beneficiaries. (Bachchan Kumar/HT file photo. Representative image)
Delhi has 1.75 million ration cardholders, which translates to 7.16 million beneficiaries. (Bachchan Kumar/HT file photo. Representative image)

Delhi govt notifies modalities of doorstep delivery of ration, cardholders may opt in or out every fiscal

According to the notification document, the scheme will be optional, and beneficiaries of the existing TPDS (targeted public distribution system) may choose to enrol for the scheme or continue under the existing TPDS.
By Abhishek Dey
PUBLISHED ON FEB 25, 2021 12:45 AM IST

The Delhi government has notified the policy document that prescribes the modalities of the doorstep delivery of ration scheme, meant for the 1.75 million ration cardholders in the national capital.

According to the notification document, the scheme will be optional, and beneficiaries of the existing TPDS (targeted public distribution system) may choose to enroll for the scheme or continue under the existing TPDS. Those who are not opting for the scheme shall continue to get their ration as per the existing mechanism and price.

“Beneficiaries will be able to exercise the option in the beginning of every financial year,” the document, notified on February 20, said.

On January 25, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal had said the scheme will be operational by March.

A senior government official, on condition of anonymity, said, “For the full implementation of the scheme, some more documents concerning modalities of processing charges, additional fee, etc., will have to be notified.”

The scheme document elaborated the entire process and said foodgrains will be collected from the food corporation godowns by agencies empanelled by the government and sent to mills where wheat will be processed into flour and packed. Similarly, there will be units for cleaning and packing of rice as well. The packets will be delivered to fair price shops and from there, they will be further delivered to residences of beneficiaries who opt for the scheme.

The beneficiaries will have to register the receipt of the ration with their fingerprints on the biometric-based electronic point-of-sale (e-POS) machines, which the agencies entrusted with doorstep delivery will carry. The entire operation -- from the godown to the doorstep --- will be monitored via CCTV cameras, GPS-fitted vehicles, e-POS logs, etc, said the document.

Delhi has 1.75 million ration cardholders, which translates to 7.16 million beneficiaries. Of the total ration cardholders, 1.51 million are covered under the priority household category of the National Food Security Act, 2013, while 0.17 million are covered under the priority state household category, and the remaining 0.07 million come under the Antyodaya Anna Yojana, show government records.

While those under the first two categories are entitled to 5 kilos of foodgrain a month, those under the third category are entitled to 25 kilos of wheat, 10 kilos of rice and a kilo of sugar every month. These items are distributed to them through 2,010 fair price shops that are currently functional across the city.

The doorstep ration scheme was cleared by the Delhi cabinet in March 2018 but could not be rolled out because of legal and administrative issues. In July 2020, the cabinet gave fresh approval to the project.

Shailendra Kumar, president of Delhi public distribution system welfare association, said, “In other states, provision for doorstep delivery is limited to elderly beneficiaries, people with disabilities and other vulnerable groups. The Delhi model will force fair price shops out of business and that will lead to unemployment. The government should be more considerate in this regard.”

Saurabh Garg, secretary of the Delhi-based Sarkari Ration Dealer Sangh, echoed similar concerns: “By binding a beneficiary for one full financial year, it also deprives the person of the option to discontinue after a few months. What if beneficiaries have to go to villages and collect the ration there under the central government’s one nation one ration card policy?”

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